Dubai admits possibility of medical fraud in private hospitals

Published:  25 Jun at 6 PM
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The expat hub of Dubai has pulled the plug on the massive problem of overcharging for private medical services in popular expat destinations.

Officially acknowledging what expats themselves and their employers have long suspected, Dubai’s government has admitted that expat hospital patients are possibly being over-diagnosed as well as being kept in hospital longer than is necessary. The Dubai health authority is now launching a regulatory scheme to deal with the issue.

The multi-million overcharging of private patients isn’t just limited to Dubai, as many complaints have been made about other countries’ private healthcare charges. According to the director of the Dubai Health Authority, Dr Haider Saeed al Yousuf, the regulatory scheme will apply to all private medical facilities in the emirate.

Dr al Yousuf said that patients seem to have been kept longer than necessary in intensive care units as well as in private rooms, and insured patients need to be protected from having their insurances denied due to high charges. Health insurance is mandatory for all expats working in the emirate, most of whom will welcome the development.

The problem extends across the expat world, and the practice is estimated to have forced medical insurance companies to increase premiums by 10 per cent. At the top of the list of offenders are the countries with the largest expat communities.

Fraudulent claims from hospitals are picked up every day by major medical insurers. Everything from the borderline offence of prescribing unneeded vitamins and unwanted pain killers through to unnecessary MRI scans and even criminal activity by organised gangs posing as hospital consultants is being tried.
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